Boarding @ Home: Day 47/84: VE Day - Time to Party then just as 75 years ago
Actually the Germans surrendered unconditionally on both Western and Eastern Fronts the day before … at Reims in France, signed by General Alfred Jodl, but the announcement was delayed till 8th so all Allies could announce together. Here in 2020 it was May's traditional Flower Moon in the northern hemisphere, known as such to North American First Nations because of the prevalence of flowers in May; pictured over Milton at 12.01am.
What Winston Churchill said:
“My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole. We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left all alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year. There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? [The crowd shouted “No.”] Were we down-hearted? [“No!”] The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we’ve done and they will say “do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be-unconquered." Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy.
"But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed-the Japanese. I rejoice we can all take a night off today and another day tomorrow. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfill our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. [We flew the Stars & Stripes alongside the Union Flag on our pole pictured below.] We will go hand in hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail.”
HM The Queen spoke at 9pm, just like her father. She echoed Churchill's words as well as those of King George VI - of tribulations overcome. It was all about extolling British exceptionalism which academics now suggest is the cause of so many errors over the pandemic! We've been conditioned to believe we should do it our way ..whether that's an NHS APP on the Isle of Wight which flattens the phone battery or central procurement by the NHS/ PHE. We lead and wait for others to catch on, catch up. I like that notion but I'm also the greatest exponent and supporter of comparative studies as Mathew and more know well. Many many others are addressing similar challenges and the evidence of what they do and what transpires is well worth attention.
How to celebrate someone else's accomplishments or sacrifices? Certainly the great majority alive today did not win the war or even play a role in it. So thanking those who did who are still living was the right and only thing to do and this 75th is approaching the last time most will still be alive to thank. [Bryan, Anne and I had no role to play other than as evacuees in boarding school, Bryan in Totnes at the Seymour Hotel, Anne at Greens Norton and myself at Tile House, Lillingston Dayrell. Anne recalls being in the gardens eating ice cream and waving Union Jacks.] Those who were involved, veterans, unfailingly tell us that they remember most those who died or were hopelessly injured. It was perhaps ironic we should be doing so in the midst of national lockdown yet for us it worked well... and it seems for many others too. The focus was on families and make do as best we could. Bunting and flags were dug out, 1940s hair styles attempted, red white and blue attire donned and plates of sandwiches and cakes and scones placed neatly on outdoor tables - ours from the Manor House kitchen - thanks as ever to Laura and Jules; and singing the old songs - endlessly!
The only excess for us was the champagne/ sparkling wines. That was certainly not what was consumed in 1945 in more than a few very privileged locations but here we had 0% for the grandsons Henry and Elliot plus Avril and fine English for the other three of us.
Back to the BBC and Ministerial quidditatives, useless subtleties and equivocation; now it's all about the minacious, threatening R factor being less than 1. The nonsense of a national average when the clear reality is that the great majority of fatalities giving rise to the present published R measure are arising in care homes and have all along been driven by the impact of the virus on the very elderly/ those with existing medical conditions. Nationwide lockdown in the light of the evidence is a sledge hammer to crack a nutshell. If it hadn't been for the crass strategy adopted towards care homes for the past three decades and most glaringly since the pandemic arrived even that sad state of affairs would not exist today. We dare to hope Boris Johnston now accepts this reality to guide his decisions on Sunday with amain, immediately.
Village Facebook gets the message .. about books for the taking. It is true that we have too many already read books. The initiative to take them to Towcester after boxing in the front hallway never happened and Avril's frustrations have found an outlet. An old white painted Gothenburg bar table has been load with books outside the front gates and one and all encouraged to help themselves making an Air Ambulance Donation if they so wished- and indeed they have.
It's gone well with just one hiccup when one neighbour [mistakenly] thought it could be a swop shop for books as well. We were in danger of ending up with more than we started with! Not to be outdone on Facebook, from Ilkley came many pictures from which we chose red lipstick day for the three grand daughters [which Avril also had to kiss our giraffe above]; and from Mathew pride of place for his fly past by a spitfire from his gazebo!
P.S. The Daily Telegraph carried this cartoon on May 8th and I was more than pleased to see the gentleman dancing is a Flying Officer of the Royal Air Force. Sure he was a pilot with wings; but that was my rank too for the Cold War years.
Published Date: May 8th 2020